Indie filmmaker and Lomographer Joaquín Cacciuttolo a.k.a, joaquin-cat-cciuttolo always stirs and brews a new film soup recipe where the world melts and gets stained in psychedelic colors.
Joaquín has always held a special affinity for film photography even when he was just a student from 20 years ago -- though it was a pleasurable experience of learning, it was his expensive vice. After studying film and cinema, he focused more on digital. However, the same pleasure and excitement he felt with the analogue medium could not be met as most of his digital grind was for work. This all changed during a trip to Patagonia three years ago, when Joaquín rekindled with film.
"I did a few rolls on this amazing trip just for fun, and the main project, it was covered on digital. When I saw the results of the films I was like, 'Why did I quit to do this? I must do it again and all the time.' And my expectations still are increasing," Joaquín shares. Digital could not capture the 'soul' of the subject. The grain and texture of film were irreplaceable and felt more tangible. Joaquín admits that this more tactile experience with photography is what draws him to film.
"Now I’m researching all the time on new ways of processing film, interesting colleagues’ works, and as always looking for references and new and old photographers whom I can learn something." Joaquín started to research more authors and articles, started asking more questions on longtime film photographers and experimenters. His curiosity led him to the fantastical and surreal world with film soups. He then went to a workshop to learn the basic developing process, keen to do it all on his own. "A year and half ago I started to cook, and the results were amazing from the very beginning and they encouraged me. This was what I was looking for."
The funniest thing about Joaquín's personal film cookbook is that the ingredients come from everywhere. And to him, this is the best element of the film soup process.
"For example, tap water …here in Santiago, Chile, water is quite heavy due tot the minerals it carries from the mountains plus fluorine and chlorine which are added, so you say: tap water? Is it harmless? Absolutely not. Just add some salt and voila. My first research led me to red wine, so that was one of the first recipes I tried. I mixed red wine, detergent plus silica gel and the results have blown my mind. Then I’ve tried orange and lemon natural juice, salty water, froze them and put them directly under the sun for several days... I also tried baking soda, rosemary and vine leaves, vinegar, soaps, detergents, green tea, you name it! I feel I tried so few elements and there is a whole world to discover, but you can always take a shortcut by asking colleagues, or read texts and descriptions on websites."
Film soups are volatile, unpredictable, random and unexpected. There's always an element of surprise even when using the same recipe. Depending on how curious, creative and brave one is, the risks can be high, but the rewards are very promising. Part of Joaquín's grind now is taking down notes for his recipes, timetables and results just to keep things more in order. It allows him to compare and review his processes. He then tries to be more precise and sharp on the new equipment he will use and experiment with.
Another aesthetic Joaquín loves to use and pair with his film soup concoctions are the open sprockets, so he loves to use his Sprocket Rocket camera due to its ability to make a common photo look more lively and moving. "It's like going beyond the limits of normal 35 mm format or common photo boundaries as I knew it. It seem to me as a part of a book’s page you are not able to write. So, how about making the picture get out of the usual frame?"
Lately, Joaquín's learning more on double exposures in which he'd like to mix with his film soups and open sprocket aesthetic. And definitely learning and experimenting with equipment and tools that are new for him.
"My multiimage filters came just recently. I expect to learn soon how to prepare alternative developers for black and white film too. I recently got a lot of cine film for my 35 mm cameras. Finally I want to try a Bolex H16 I ve’ got some time ago but I’ve never used... Let's always try to learn something new, mix it with what you knew before and you always will obtain something fresh. Investigate and observe, then just play and have some fun. Follow your plan but always follow your intuition, it is like a jazz jam session, in which you know about music but the song is being written at the very moment… so let’s improvise.Please never stop surprising others and yourself!"